Brittany Higgins was "broken" after her alleged rape, people close to her have told the jury tasked with determining whether a former Liberal Party colleague raped her at Parliament House.
"A light had turned off in her," Ben Dillaway, described by Ms Higgins as a former boyfriend, told the ACT Supreme Court trial of alleged rapist Bruce Lehrmann.
"She was a broken, shattered person, I would say."
The evidence given this week by the likes of Mr Dillaway, as well as Ms Higgins' mother and former housemate, can now be revealed after a non-publication order was lifted.
MORE EVIDENCE NOW ABLE TO BE PUBLISHED:
When Mr Dillaway took the stand as part of the case against Lehrmann, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of engaging in sexual intercourse without consent, he said he had not "officially dated" Ms Higgins but the pair were "very close".
He described having spoken to her on the phone in March 2019, at a time Ms Higgins has previously told the court she was in an Uber, heading home from Parliament House after Lehrmann had allegedly raped her.
Mr Dillaway told the court Ms Higgins had spoken of going out with some colleagues the previous night.
"She said they'd kind of kicked on and she said they'd, you know, brought a party back to Linda Reynolds' office," he said.
Because this sounded "very strange" to him, he said he asked "probing questions" until Ms Higgins "abruptly" told him she did not want to talk about it anymore and hung up.
Mr Dillaway went on to detail how Ms Higgins had subsequently revealed the alleged rape to him, and how she had cried in his arms after he travelled to Canberra to check on her welfare.
"She was very much what I would say would be a broken person," he said.
Ms Higgins' mother, Kelly Higgins, also took the stand to speak of the changes she had seen in her daughter since the alleged rape in the office of Senator Reynolds, for whom Ms Higgins and Lehrmann worked at the time in question.
Ms Higgins' mother said her daughter had become "very distant" around March or April 2019, as a result of what the alleged rape victim initially described to her as "a work incident".
But in November of that year, Ms Higgins told her mother she had woken in Senator Reynolds' office after a night out to see Lehrmann "looking coldly at her" as he allegedly raped her.
"She was almost unfamiliar in her emotional state," Kelly Higgins told the court of her daughter's demeanour as this was said.
"She was almost unfamiliar in her character. Like, she was just so frozen in what had happened to her ... just not the same person."
MORE COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL:
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- Higgins had planned book before being 'blown away' by $325k offer, court hears
- 'So incorrect': Higgins hits back at 'deeply insulting' cross-examination
- 'I wanted her out': Higgins denies attempt to hide evidence, admits 'scrubbing' phone
Evidence about a change in Ms Higgins' behaviour was also provided by Alexandra Humphreys, with whom the alleged victim lived in a Lyons share house at the time in question.
Ms Humphreys told the court Ms Higgins had been "bubbly" until about the time the latter travelled to Perth, a few weeks after the alleged sexual assault, to spend about a month working on Senator Reynolds' federal election campaign.
The court heard that for the rest of her time in that house, Ms Higgins generally stayed in her room and stopped socially engaging.
Higgins likened herself to a log
A variety of people who worked with Ms Higgins have also given evidence of their dealings with her in the wake of the alleged rape, with one former colleague telling the court the "visibly distressed" woman confided in him two or three days later.
Christopher Payne, who worked within the ministerial suite of Senator Reynolds as a departmental liaison officer in March 2019, recalled Ms Higgins coming into his office.
Ms Higgins closed the door, he said, and described having had a conversation with Senator Reynolds' chief of staff, Fiona Brown, about an incident the previous weekend.
He said Ms Higgins spoke of entering Parliament House after-hours with Lehrmann and sitting on a window ledge in Senator Reynolds' office before she "blacked out".
Mr Payne told the court she indicated her next memory was of waking on a couch in the office to find Lehrmann "having sex with her".
According to him, she replied: "I could not have consented. It would have been like f---ing a log."
Mr Payne said he offered to take Ms Higgins to see a doctor or police, but she declined.
Whisky claim challenged
Ms Brown also gave evidence this week, indicating she spoke to Lehrmann three days after the alleged rape about the after-hours entry to parliament being a "security breach".
She said she was concerned about what he had been doing, given he had previously mishandled a classified document, and she asked him for an explanation.
While Lehrmann later told police he had gone to Parliament House that morning to pick up the keys to his apartment, Ms Brown told the court he gave her a different answer.
"He said he came back to the office to drink some whisky, and I questioned that," Ms Brown said.
"Who comes back to the office to drink whisky? He said, 'Oh, people do that all the time'."
Ms Brown said she subsequently told Lehrmann, who had been due to leave Senator Reynolds' office a few weeks later in any event, that he should finish up immediately.
She said the classified document issue contributed to her decision, as did a report that informed her Lehrmann and Ms Higgins had been "inebriated" when they arrived at Parliament House about 1.41am and told security guards they had urgent work to do.
"There was no urgent work purposes," Ms Brown told the court.
She indicated she spoke to Ms Higgins about the "security breach" soon after Lehrmann.
It was not until two days after their initial discussions, according to Ms Brown, that Ms Higgins alluded to an alleged rape by telling her: "I remember him on top of me."
Ms Brown told the court she alerted Senator Reynolds to this remark, and the pair met with Ms Higgins early the following week.
While Ms Higgins has given evidence of feeling pressured by the pair not to go to police, saying the meeting felt like "a scare tactic", Ms Brown painted a different picture.
She said the "lovely" Senator Reynolds had encouraged Ms Higgins to speak to police, and a meeting with federal agents followed later that day after Ms Brown arranged one.
During cross-examination, Ms Brown broke down in tears on the witness stand after Lehrmann's barrister, Steven Whybrow, read out a message Ms Higgins had sent her.
The court heard both women had left Senator Reynolds' office following the 2019 federal election, after which Ms Higgins had texted Ms Brown to thank her for her "support".
Ms Higgins wrote that she could not overstate its importance, adding that Ms Brown had been "absolutely incredible".
Overcome with emotion, Ms Brown had to temporarily leave the courtroom for a break.
The content of that particular message was at odds with others previously shown to the jury, in which Ms Higgins expressed a different sentiment about the support provided by her superiors in the wake of her alleged rape.
In one example, about six weeks after the alleged sexual assault, Ms Higgins wrote to Mr Dillaway that she had been "offered jack shit in terms of help".
The trial continues.